IFA President Eddie Downey has said the decision by the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to close down the Department’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) and establish a new division is welcome.

“It recognises the concerns IFA has repeatedly expressed about the unit since I took over as President. The move also reflects the deep unease among farm families about the activities of the SIU.”

Eddie Downey said farmers had no faith in the unit and this move by the Minister must restore the credibility of the Department of Agriculture’s investigative oversight among farm families and the wider agricultural community.

The IFA President said the Minister must ensure there is rigorous oversight of the work of the new unit. “The unit will also have to have the Charter of Rights and the Department Charter as part of its terms of reference. Both were ignored in the past as the SIU rode roughshod over the rights of hard-working farmers. The new unit will have to ensure people being investigated are treated properly, fairly and impartially”.